Julian Drive project will include 8-foot sidewalks, tree replanting

Monday, May 2, 2011
A new sign along the east side of Percy Julian Drive near Greencastle Middle School tells of the coming road project. The line of trees along the west side of the street will be removed and be replaced or replanted in a revision to the project design.

Whenever a proposed project mixes street repaving, curbs and gutters, sidewalks and street trees, seldom is Plan A the final design.

So welcome to Plan B for the Percy Julian Drive project scheduled this spring and summer on Greencastle's east side.

After consultation between city officials and Greencastle school officials, a plan to retain the trees along the east edge of the McAnally Center parking area has been altered.

Instead of shrinking the sidewalk planned along that section of Percy Julian from 8 feet to 5 feet to retain the trees, an agreement was made to maintain the 8-foot sidewalk width. That will result in the removal and/or replanting of those trees or new ornamental trees along the east side of the GHS property.

GCSC School Board President Bruce Stinebrickner, who is also an ex-officio member of the Greencastle Development Commission, called the decision a "no-brainer."

During the Redevelopment Commission's April meeting last week, Stinebrickner and Mayor Sue Murray revisited the decision made earlier with school officials. The area in question will also serve as an extension of the People Pathways route, so keeping it a consistent 8 feet was considered desirable.

Plan B will be to widen the planned sidewalk and remove/replant the trees.

"To not do it," Stinebrickner reasoned of the wider sidewalk plan, "you end up 20 years from now looking at it and saying 'why didn't we do that?"

Mayor Murray also noted the trees along the west side of Percy Julian Drive have already grown into the overhead utility lines, creating a potential problem there.

The overall project is designed to widen Percy Julian Drive to 36 feet with curb and gutter along both sides of the pavement. It is expected to go out for bids early this month.

Work is expected to commence June 1, just as the school year comes to an end. The project goal is to be finished by Aug. 17, the date school starts up for the 2011-12 school year.

Percy Julian Drive is, of course, the main north-south route for Greencastle High School and Middle School traffic, as well as traffic generated by events at McAnally Center.

Along the west side of the road, a sidewalk currently runs from Indianapolis Road to the driveway running between McAnally and the main high school parking lot. Along the east side of Percy Julian Drive, the sidewalk runs only along the CVS property, from Indianapolis Road to Avenue B.

The project calls for the sidewalk on the west side of Percy Julian Drive to be extended south to Veterans Highway. A crosswalk across Veterans Highway and another crosswalk east and west across Zinc Mill Road south of the highway would then connect to the pathway that extends into the Ivy Tech property.

A sidewalk along the east side of Percy Julian Drive remains possible from Avenue B to Avenue D if arrangements can be worked out with adjoining property owners.

The Percy Julian Drive project is to be funded with Redevelopment Commission dollars captured through the TIF (tax-increment financing) district from the industrial area surrounding the Greencastle/Putnam County Airport.

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